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Summer Programs For MIT Students by Mitra L. '07

Planning early -- MIT-sponsored ways to make an impact next summer

One of my sophomore advisees asked me about MIT summer opportunities for rising juniors interested in helping people. In this entry, I will list the ones I know with a brief description, and then I’ll write a separate entry for each that includes more information from someone who participated in it last summer. If I have forgotten any, please let me know!

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1. Public Service Center (PSC) Fellowships — the PSC aims “to enrich the educational and life experiences of students through leadership and service opportunities” and offers IAP and summer fellowships

a) Focus Fellowship — concentrate on issues and communities that are of particular interest to the PSC and its donors, so students who apply for these Fellowships have a competitive advantage in the selection process

sample issues: science education, women working on women’s issues, issues affecting minority communities in the US, and the environment

b) Independent Fellowship — you would “need to identify a community or community organization to work with, and contact them early in your planning process. Before making your application, you must collaborate with your community partner to produce a detailed project proposal and supervision plan.”

c) Vector Fellowship — you would “need to identify a community or community organization (perhaps a school, neighborhood organization, or local non-profit) in your hometown that you would like to work with, and make contact with them early in your planning process. Before making your application, you must collaborate with your community partner to produce a detailed project proposal and supervision plan.”

d) Network Fellowship — you “work on a team Fellowship project initiated by the PSC… You do not need to have organized a team to apply for a Network Fellowship — the selection committee will choose the team from the individuals who apply — but you are welcome to apply with friends if you choose.”

e) Baker Fellowship — you would “work on community service projects that build capacity for underserved communities locally, nationally, or internationally [and] … collaborate on [your] project with an MIT faculty member.”

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2. MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) — “Over the last ten years, MISTI has placed more than 1,700 MIT students as interns in labs and offices from Beijing to Berlin. Currently MISTI has country programs in China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Singapore. Before their departure interns are trained in the language and culture of the host country.”

Other cool things about MISTI:

– intensive professional internships for culturally aware MIT students in companies, research laboratories, and universities around the world;

– support of MIT faculty for cross-border research collaborations (Mitra note: this is noteworthy since you may be able to use your summer experience/work/research for a UROP or senior thesis);

– facilitating research opportunities for international students and postdoctoral visitors at MIT;

– providing MIT students with study-abroad opportunities at selected universities abroad;

– working with corporations, government, and non-governmental organizations to internationalize industry, education, and research (Mitra note: this is noteworthy since most other fellowships aren’t as flexible sector-wise);

– Organizing meetings, conferences, and training workshops with sponsor companies, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

** MISTI Week is Sep 18-23, 2006 **

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3. MIT Washington DC Summer Internship Program — it “provides technically sophisticated undergraduates the opportunity to apply their scientific and technical training to public policy issues… Students work in the offices of government agencies, the private sector, and advocacy groups.”

The program involves a trip to DC the Spring Break before you begin work, and a class the subsequent fall to follow up with your summer work.

Sample organizations where MIT interns have worked in the past:

a) U.S. Congress (e.g. House Judiciary Committee, various congressmen’s offices)
b) U.S. Federal Agencies (Executive Branch) (e.g. Department of Education, NASA, NIH)
c) Think Tanks/Research Operations (e.g. Brookings Institution, Institute for Defense Analyses, Institute of Medicine)
d) Advocacy/Professional Associations (e.g. AFL-CIO, March of Dimes)
e) International Organizations (e.g. American Association for World Health, World Bank)
f) Private Companies

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